Central and Western Mindanao, including the Zamboanga Peninsula, and the Sulu Archipelago and southern Sulu Sea area are “do not travel” zone according to the latest advisory from Smartraveller alert service of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The advisory was issued a day after the Philippine Government on May 23 declared Martial Law in Mindanao for 60 days.
Measures imposed under Martial Law may include the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the imposition of curfews and establishment of checkpoints.
The Smartraveller advisory also cautioned travellers “to exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines due to the high threat of terrorist attack and the high level of crime.”
“We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to eastern Mindanao due to the very high levels of violent crime and the high threat of terrorist attack and kidnapping.
“We advise you not to travel to central and western Mindanao, including the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Sulu Archipelago and in the southern Sulu Sea area, due to the very high threat of kidnapping, terrorist attack, violent crime and violent clashes between armed groups.”
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday May 23 declared Martial Law across a vast areas of the southern Philippines.
According to reports, this was precipitated by the fighting which broke out between the army and Islamist insurgents. At least 21 people have been reported killed in the fighting.
Duterte was also quoted as saying that he was prepared to extend martial law to all of the Philippines if necessary.